15 days Sichuan-Tibet Hwy northern route tour (Not Available Currently)

⇀ Kangding
⇀ Ganzi
⇀ Dege
⇀ Chamdo
⇀ Tengchen
⇀ Nagqu
⇀ Namtso
⇀ Lhasa
The longest and most diverse overland tour we offer, travel along the Sichuan Tibet northern highway on an adventure that takes you closer to the people, and their lifestyle than anything else.
15 days
Trip code
From CN¥ 14,600 per person

This is one of the two main routes of Sichuan-Tibet Highway which links the Tibetan areas of Western Sichuan with mainland Tibet. This route is longer than the southern route but less affected by rain during summer. 

The journey goes through the wild, mountainous and remote Tibetan areas of Western Sichuan, you will be amazed to see that Tibetan culture is in many ways better preserved here. The route offers an insight to the rich culture, costume and tradition of Khampa people and their lifestyle, monasteries are unavoidable part of their day to day life and from there you will feel their faith in religion. Moreover, the high altitude grasslands in the northern area is the home for thousands of Tibetan nomads and their animals, the black and short yak wool made nomads tents are can be visited if there are not far from the road. This journey could be very tough and challenging, due to its geographical remoteness and poor infrastructure and facilities.

(Note: Due to the closure of Chamdo - the capital city of Chamdo Prefecture to foreign tourists, this travel route is not available currently. We suggest you consider to make the overland trip to Lhasa Tibet from Chengdu along the Sichuan-Tibet Southern Highway - the G318, the TTB has announced its openning for foreign tourists since this spring 2017). 

Day 01 :
Arrive at Chengdu

Chengdu airport picking up, check-in and have a good rest. Overnight at Chengdu.   


Day 02 :
Chengdu / Luding / Kangding (327km, 6 hours)

Morning drive to Kangding, go through Mt. Er'lang Tunnel, along Da-Chu river. Upon arrival at Kangding, explore this town on your own, enjoy the mountain scenery and Buddha carvings on the hillsides. After dinner, enjoy a soak in the hot springs at Erdaoqiao if you like. Overnight at Kangding.

Day 03 :
Kangding / Tagong / Bamei (120km, 3-4 hours)

Morning cross over Zheduo (4200m) Mountain, reach Xinduqiao, the ' the heaven for photographers', here you will see typical Tibetan houses, small streams, herds of sheep & yaks on the grasslands, snow-capped mountain ranges in a distance, etc. After Xinduqiao, drive about 40KM to Tagong, visit Tagong monastery, enjoy the impressive snow peaks of Mt. Yalha (5820m) and Paojiashan (5400m). Afternoon upon arrival at Bamei, visit the distinguished village and traditional Tibetan.

Day 04 :
Bamei / Gathar Monastery / Luhuo (150km, 4-5 hours)

Morning drive to the Gathar Chodestery (Huiyuan Gompa), it is renowned Gelug pa monastery, which formerly housed 300 monks, was founded in the 18th century by 7th Dalai Lama Kalsang Gyatso, and its construction was sponsored by Emperor Qinglong of the Qing Dynasty, and 11th Dalai Lama was also born at here. From the monastery have a great view of the grassland meadow scenery in Bamei. Then drive continue to Daofu, Daofu is very famous for its local residences, white-painted wall, crimson column and exquisitely carved windows, the local houses are well decorated with skillful wood-carvings and paintings, then further along Xianshui River to Luhuo, visit Drango Gompa, which is overlooking the whole Luhuo Town. Overnight at Luhuo.

Day 05 :
Luhuo / Ganzi (95km, 2-3 hours)

Drive from Luohuo to Ganzi, about 20km from Ganzi, pay a visit to Kasa lake. Ganzi is an important city on the northern Sichuan - Tibet road, in the afternoon you will be arranged to visit Ganze Monastery and some other small monasteries around. Mighty snow-capped peaks are overlooking to town in the south. Overnight at Ganzi.

Day 06 :
Ganzi / Manigango / Yilhun Lhatso / Dege (220km, 6 hours)

Drive from Ganzi to Manigango, around 13km after Manigange is Yilhun La-Tso (Xinluhai), a stunning, holy alpine lake bordered by dozens of rock carvings. Then driving over the Chola pass (5050m) and you will have a chance see the huge glaciers of 6018m Chola Range. Arrival at Derge to visit Derge Parkhang (Scripture Printing Press) and Monastery. Overnight at Derge.

Day 07 :
Derge / Chamdo( 336km, 8hrs)

Drive from Derge to Chamdo via Jomda, you enter the TAR (Tibet Autonomous Region) after crossing the Jinsha river, by the bridge over it and several high passes lead you to Chamdo. Overnight at Chamdo.

Day 08 :
Chamdo / Jampaling Monastery / Riwoche (105km, 3-4 hours)

Chamdo is the major transport, administrative and trade center of the Kham region. In the morning visit Jampaling Monastery on the hilltop, do pilgrimage circumambulation. Then drive to Riwoche, cross over the Zholpel La pass (4688m), this part of the road is recently built but still in a fair condition. Overnight at Riwoche.

Day 09 :
Riwoche / Riwoche Monastery / Tengchen (155km, 4-5 hours)

Morning visit Riwoche Monastery, then drive on a rough road to Tengchen. Tengchen is the center of the Bon-Religion, which is a primitive religion, based on ancient witchcraft and worship to god and ghost, and was spread through the whole Tibet before the Buddhism was introduced into Tibetan area. Visit Zizhu Monastery. Overnight at Tengchen.

Day 10 :
Tengchen / Bachen / Sok (30km, 7-8 hours)

After master Tsuri La Pass (4200m) and Shel La Pass (4750m) we arrive at Bachen, and continue about 30km you will reach Sok. Sok means Mongolia in Tibetan. Overnight at Sok.

Day 11 :
Sok / Nagqu (390km, 7-8 hours)

Morning drive to Sok Tsanden Zhol village, visit Nyimpa sect monastery Sok Tsanden Gompa(sometimes it is impossible to visit this monastery). After that cross over two passes and reach the city of Shakchuka. Then another 100km with two passes, you will reach Nagqu. Overnight at Nagqu.

Day 12 :
Nagqu / Namtso Lake (230km, 5-6 hours)

Morning drive on the vast Qiangtang grassland to Namtso, the northern grassland is homeland for the nomads and herds of domestic animals are can be seen along the road, short and cozy black tents are scattered throughout the plain, then from Damshong after crossing the 5150m high Nagenla pass you see the first view of Namtso Chukmo Lake. Afternoon free walking around the Tashi Do Peninsula. Overnight at Namtso tent guest house.

Day 13 :
Namtso / Yangpachen hot-spring / Lhasa (250km, 4 hours)

After the sunrise at Namtso, then drive back to Lhasa, en route stop at Yangpachen for hot-spring, newly built hot spring swimming pool is good for getting relief by soaking in it. Overnight at Lhasa.

Day 14 :
Lhasa city sightseeing (B)

You'll visit Jokhang temple and Potala Palace. Jokhang temple is the most sacred shrine in Tibet which was built in the 7th century and located at the heart of old town in Lhasa, the circuit around it called Barkhor street, which is a good place to purchase souvenirs. Potala Palace is the worldwide known cardinal landmark of Tibet. The massive structure itself contains a small world within it. Mostly it is renowned as residence of the Dalai Lama lineages (Avalokiteshvara). Both of them are the focal points of pilgrims from Tibetan world, multitudinous pilgrims are circumambulating and prostrating in their strong faith. Overnight at Lhasa.

Day 15 :
Lhasa city sightseeing (B)

Today you will visit Drepung, Sera monasteries and Summer Palace - Norbulingka palace. Both Drepung and Sera monasteries are Gelugpa (yellow hat) sect monastic colleges. Drepung monastery was the seat of the Government prior to Potala, it was once the world largest monastery in the history with 7,700 monks hailed from different monasteries all over Tibet. Sera monastery is famous for its Buddhism philosophical debate practice, the clapping sound and aggressive expression of the monks are well worth to see. Norbulingka is the summer palace of Dalai Lama, you can visit the residences of different lineages of the Dalai Lama. Overnight at Lhasa.

Day 16 :
Lhasa airport / train station send-off (B)

Your guide and driver will see you off at the airport or train station, end of the trip.

Tour notes:

Please note prices are based in CNY.

General inclusions:

All required government taxes and fees.
Please contact one of our Tour Advisors to get a custom quotation made to your requirements.
All required Tibet permits and domestic travel documents.
Necessary oxygen and medicine for the acute high altitude sickness.
Where possible 3 star hotels will always be provided, if the city or town does not have then the local guest house or monastery guest house will be provided (i.e. tent / dormitory bed, no private bathroom etc.)
All entrance tickets as noted in the tour's itinerary.
Local Tibetan guide fluent in English, Chinese or Japanese that is certified by the state tourism build. (If your native language is not listed please let us know, we are certain we can assist your needs.)
Transportation will we be provided via a comfortable and clean car, minivan or tourist bus depending upon the groups size.

General exclusions:

Personal expenses such as laundry, drinks, internet access, fax, telephone calls etc.
Tips for your guide and driver.
Meals that are not specified in the tour itinerary.
Optional Attractions that are not specified in the itinerary.
Flight tickets or train tickets in and out of Lhasa (Please note: We can offer you train and/or plane tickets in and out Lhasa from all cities within China. Please check the latest price with us via email.)

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Mon, 05/24/2021


Do I need to have a permit to enter Tibet and, have to follow a local for visiting Tibet province?


Replied by
personal picture
Anita Fan
Mon, 05/24/2021

In reply to by Andre (not verified)

Hi Andrew,

Thanks for your inquiry. This is Anita from WindhorseTour. 

For your questions, yes, overseas travelers must apply Tibet Permit to enter Tibet, and our agency will help to organize all of your Tibet permits. In addition, independent travel is not allowed in Tibet. A guide, transportation with a prepared itinerary are required to book with a travel agency in advance. 

Hope the above information is clear and helpful. If you need any further info, please feel free to get back to me by email.

Best regards,


Neil Silver
Neil Silver
Tue, 04/10/2018


We're interested in a tour (about 15 days + or - sounds OK) from Chengdu to Lhasa along the northern route.
We have traveled twice before throughout "central" Tibet from Lhasa down toward Shigatse etc. and the EBC, once by air to Lhasa and SUV inside Tibet, and the second time by train up from Xining and SUV inside Tibet.

We will be two, most probably three, travelers. We can leave from the US on/a June 7, but will then need about one week in and around Chengdu to get acclimated to the time difference and re/see some areas around Chengdu.

So our approximate Chengdu-Lhasa start date would be around June 14.

Please give us an idea of what is possible, and about what such a tour would cost. Your recommendation re level of hotels and prices levels would also be helpful, if that impacts the price significantly. We usually stay in guest houses or economy hotels, but we'd like to weigh our options.


Neil Silver

Replied by
Tagong grassland by July Yuki
Yuki Yi
Wed, 04/11/2018

In reply to by Neil Silver (not verified)

Hi Neil,
Thanks for contacting us!
Mid June is a good time for this trip, however, with regrets to share that the northern route from Chengdu to Lhasa is not available for foreign travelers. I have sent you an email with the details, please have a look and let me know your comments and thoughts.
Look forward to your reply for further assistance.
Warm regards,